The Central Bureau of Investigation booked former telecom minister and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran and his brother and media baron Kalanithi Maran in the Aircel sellout scam on Monday, and raided their houses and offices.
The raids were part of the CBI investigation into their roles in coercing C Sivasankaran to sell his mobile phone company Aircel to Malaysian firm Maxis. Sivasankaran told the CBI in May that Maran had forced him to sell Aircel to Maxis.
Maxis is owned by T Ananda Krishnan, a tycoon believed to be a long-time friend of the Maran brothers.
The CBI is looking into charges that Dayanidhi, as telecom minister in UPA-1 in 2004, deliberately delayed issuing telecom licences and spectrum to Aircel’s sister concern, Dishnet Wireless.
The CBI, which has named Ananda Krishnan and Maxis CEO Ralph Marshall in its FIR, is also looking at charges that Dayanidhi flouted first-come-first-served rules to grant spectrum to Aircel shortly after Sivasankaran sold the company to Maxis —even though other companies had applied for licences before it.
CBI sleuths looked inside cupboards and sifted through papers and data stored in computers in the offices and houses of the Marans, including their sprawling residence in the posh Boat Club Avenue of south Chennai, in an operation that began early Monday and continued till late at night.
The CBI has slapped the Maran brothers with charges ranging from bribery and misuse of power to criminal conspiracy under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Dayanidhi, a grandnephew of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, resigned from the union cabinet after his interrogation by the CBI in the 2G spectrum allocation case in July.
CBI sources said the searches across nine locations in Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad “yielded many incriminating documents and cyber details”.
The agency is likely to summon all the accused soon for recording of their statements, including Ananda Krishnan, who has not been interrogated yet. It had earlier questioned the Maran brothers, Marshall and Sivasankaran.
“If Ananda Krishnan and Marshall do not cooperate, then we will send letters of request to the Malaysian authorities for assistance in judicial proceedings,” said a CBI source.